Somewhere in Time
The last time we had a long holiday, I didn’t want to be stressed with long lines at the airport, be stuck in traffic or battle large crowds of people. I wanted to go somewhere unfamiliar but also stay close to home and so I thought it’d be a perfect chance to book The Henry Hotel Manila through Agoda.com for a staycation to see what the fuss was all about.
First I was pleasantly surprised to find an enclave nestled in the busy streets of Pasay City and yet there it was. Upon driving through the private gate and hearing my tires crunching underneath the gravel driveway, lined with ginormous trees, it felt as if I was visiting my grandmother’s home in the province, where the air smells different and time goes as slowly as molasses.
Interior and furniture designer Eric Paras did a marvelous job of renovating these old homes and melding them together to form a cohesive boutique hotel. Each piece of furniture found its rightful place – such as Eames chairs repros in the lobby or sleek console tables in the hallways. He used what vintage tiles he could find that weren’t broken and complemented these with decorative tiles he found in the market.
Thankfully, Marivic Diaz of Apartment 1B is in charge of the restaurant so I was fully familiar with her gourmet comfort menu and knew there wouldn’t be any weird food surprises. It’s a modified menu so you can’t order certain favorites such as the mussels with chorizo or baby back ribs, but it’s a nice selection, from drinks to appetizers, bar chow to main courses and dessert. The vintage repro chairs and lighting fixtures were a nice touch to the restaurant’s interiors as well.
The guestrooms blend antique furniture like desks or wardrobes with ultra-comfy beds, 32-inch LCD televisions and state-of the-art bathroom fixtures. I really enjoyed all the little details, such as the old-school graphics for their privacy door talker, coffee sachets, memo pad and even water conservation signs. The hotel also celebrates local livelihood projects as seen in its tissue box holder, console and trash cans made totally out of recycled newspaper or magazines.
The evening lighting was certainly dramatic and perfectly added to the ambiance of the hotel and its grounds, making it perfect for an after-dinner stroll. The next day, the grounds looked even more beautiful under a summer sky.
For breakfast, a selection of hearty Filipino dishes were available at Apartment 1B and while waiting to be served my fried bangus, garlic rice and eggs, sunny-side up, one could properly admire the pristine white vintage Rolls Royce parked between the main house and the guest houses. A perfect photo op spot! This was also the first time I took my Colombo flats on a gypset travel and they blended perfectly with my bedroom floor, don’t you think?
Being here made me feel refreshed, relaxed and nostalgic for a time gone by, where mobile phones and iPads didn’t exist and air-conditioning was a fan and a block of ice.Wait, holy hotness Batman! How did our grandparents survive sweltering summers with just a block of ice? I’d much rather enjoy The Henry Hotel Manila here in the 21st century…
Where – or when – are you going to be for the Independence Day weekend?
May all your gypsetting dreams come true,
The Henry Hotel Manila
2680 FB Harrison St. Pasay City, 1300 Philippines
T: +63 2 807 8888
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We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.
We are The Gypsetters.